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Samuda urges unity among Latin American and Caribbean states to address food security

Sunday, March 11, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Karl Samuda, says food security in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) can only be addressed by collaboration among countries.

He said that the “going it alone” approach has never worked and needs to be replaced by a spirit of unity and cooperation.

“It is critical that we cooperate with each other so we can find common ground on issues that have caused problems in the past,” he pointed out.

“Climate change is one of the biggest threats we face in the region today. We must educate our farmers on best practices so we will not be as susceptible to this problem as we are now,” he added.

Samuda was addressing the final press conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Regional Conference for LAC on Thursday at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, St James.

He said that there must be a concerted effort to attract and increase investment in climate-smart agriculture, noting that countries in the region have been calling for greater access to grants to support such initiatives.

“This is absolutely critical,” he argued, noting that the FAO has agreed to work with member states to guide them through the process of accessing grants.

Samuda said the Mexican Government has signed a letter of intent with the FAO to strengthen the capacities of small island developing states in the Caribbean to strengthen their resilience to climate change.

“This, indeed, is a welcome initiative,” he noted.

Samuda said he was pleased with the spirit of the discussions at the conference, adding that Jamaica was happy to have hosted the event.

The 35th FAO Conference for LAC was held from March 5-8. It included four days of intense discussions on matters such as hunger and malnutrition, rural poverty and change climate.

More than 300 delegates, including FAO representatives, diplomats, ministers and other officials of the 33 LAC member countries attended.

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